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Developers breathe new life into long-vacant Graystone

Mike Desmond/WBFO News

A downtown Buffalo building left alone for so long there were large trees growing out of the roof will have residential tenants before the end of the month. The Graystone Hotel on Johnson Park has been vacant for around a quarter of a century, a landmark from the city's glory days.

Developer Carl Paladino took title to the building a decade ago and faced blasts from activists because he didn't fix it up, even taking him to Housing Court where fines were issued. In April of last year, he received $213,000 in IDA tax breaks for turning the building into 42 apartments and some commercial space.

Ellicott Development CEO William Paladino says there is a market for the apartments already being leased.

"Between the different residential developers in town, there seems to be a lot new people moving in and at all different price points, too. I think that speaks volumes to Buffalo and its growth and its redevelopment in the downtown core. With the medical campus and the students moving downtown and getting some of the lower-priced units and the more executive-type people getting the more higher-priced units and the empty nesters moving back from the suburbs," Paladino said.

Paladino says these are market rate apartments, ranging from $800 to $1,800 a month.

He says it was a challenging project because the building is made from reinforced concrete, which helped push the rehab cost over $5 million.

While the company is going through a soft opening, Paladino says there will be a full marketing campaign renting into the growing downtown residential market.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.